Garden Buddha. A poem by Karen Toloui

He is ancient
and wise.
Safe in his innocent
We want to keep him that way,
serene face in a forest of daffodils,
I can watch him not move
for hours, unchanging.
And yet, he would tell you there is
nothing but change:
the dance of shadows
after morning sun, the breeze
stirring petals, air-sent pollen,
and acorns falling, their knock-knock
on the roof.
Who’s there? We ask
in our mask of fear.
Who has touched this? Touched me?
And what have I touched,
What do we do now
given all this space between us?
The self is more than we can see,
so, we are closer than we think,
our selves colliding ever so
dangerously and unseen.
The Buddha told his monks to
beware of tigers, those beautiful
creatures who could smell their breaths
even in their forest solitudes
as they slept in pine boughs
or sat beneath fig trees.
But he also loved to laugh,
every day a laugh or song,
bridging the distance,
keeping tigers at bay.


English professor in Northern California. Writer of memoir, fiction and poetry. Sheltering in peace, in Ashland, Oregon.

1 Comment

  1. Absolutely beautiful, profound and serene poem! I love it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *